Meet Our SWIMkids USA Family
Meet instructors Sarah and Shaunna
SWIMkids USA is lead by a group of talented and energetic professionals dedicated to your child's success in swimming, gymnastics and dance. We have redefined the "lesson" experience for thousands of children by providing a unique, creative, animated and remarkably challenging style of teaching that keep children active, smiling and safe!
President and Founder of SWIMkids USA, President of Blake's Miracle Foundation, President of ACTIVE U
Lana Whitehead has owned and operated SWIMkids USA since 1971. The swim program is the result of Lana's Master's thesis which included four research projects tested and researched at Arizona State University. Lana has authored several swimming books, articles, videos, and has lectured internationally and nationally for professional education and swim forums.
Mrs. Whitehead received a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Special Education, specializing in Sensory Integration and training children with disabilities, including signing to the deaf. She holds Arizona and California Teaching Certificates and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. She is certified in American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, StarGuard Lifesaving, CPR and First Aid for the Professional Rescuer and YMCA Adaptive Swimming Instruction.
Lana has been a competitive swim coach and served as a State and National USA Swimming Official. She and her team continually strive to meet higher standards in the industry by attending numerous training workshops and seminars at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, U.S. Swim School Association and the World Aquatic Baby Congress. In 2012, she was inducted into the U.S. School Association's prestigious Hall of Fame.
General Manager of SWIMkids USA, Vice President of Active Kids Global, Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona Board Member
After graduating from the University of Utah with a bachelor of science in pre-med biology, Melissa went on to receive a two-year post-graduate certificate in non-profit management from Arizona State University. Melissa came to SWIMkids USA from the non-profit field, formerly granting celebrity athlete wishes at Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is also the owner of Risinger Consulting and Event planning, an event planning firm.
Melissa's other community involvement has included serving as a volunteer for the Arizona chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a former officer in the East Valley Rotary Club, a mentor for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation's Team-In-Training program, and as an advisor for several Valley non-profit organizations through Arizona State University's school of Non-Profit Management. In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling, scuba diving, skiing, spending time with her husband, sons, family and friends, as well as training for marathons and triathlons while raising funds for causes close to her heart. Melissa is currently serving on the board of the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona.
Alma is a swim and gym instructor. She is lifeguard, CPR and AED certified. Alma enjoys helping students be safer around the water. She appreciates the opportunity to impact the lives of children in a positive way. Alma has a baby boy, a dog and she is working hard in nursing school.
Lead StarGuard/ASHI Trainer, Master Aquatic Instructor II, Graphic Designer, Tumble Bugs Instructor
Prior to working at SWIMkids USA, Amanda worked at a local city as a Lifeguard and Aquatics Instructor for 10 years. She also spent several years working in elmentary schools with kids with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges. She says that what's incredible about teaching swimming is that it's not just about safety or a sport, although those aspects are very important too. It's also about getting to witness a child grow physically, mentally, and emotionally, and to hopefully help them along in that process.
SWIMteam USA Coach
Andrew enjoys knowing he is helping children be safer around water and feels accomplishment when he can help them gain confidence to overcome their fears. He likes watching the students become more independent and healthier individuals. Andrew started swimming at SWIMkids USA when he was a baby and his first teacher was SWIMkids USA's founder Lana Whitehead.
Customer Service Rep Training Mentor, Master Aquatic Instructor I, Tumble Bugs Instructor
Angie enjoys knowing that what she teaches enhances her student's development, confidence and ability to enjoy swimming in a safer way. Angie is a mom to a young daughter and a unique skill is that she is very talented in etch-a-sketch.
Senior Customer Service Representative
Annette loves meeting all of the families who come into SWIMkids USA and has made many new friends here. Annette loves hiking soccer, fishing and reading books on positive thinking.
Anthony Ray Alvey
Deck Manager, Aquatic, Gymnastics, and Tumble Bugs Instructor
Anthony likes knowing he can make a positive impact on children's lives and he says the best part is hearing a student laugh and have fun while they learn. He loves all sports but swimming is his favorite. He likes music and sometimes sings and plays guitar.
Senior Customer Service Representative, Master Aquatic Instructor I, Deck Manager
Ashley likes to help her students be safer around water and especially likes it when they are having fun while they learn. Ashley swam on competitive swim teams for 8 years. She is going to school for Organizational Management.
Director of Aquatic Training
Master Aquatic Instructor II, Coach, Deck Manager, CPO, StarGuard/AHSI Trainer
Brandon likes the feeling that he is preparing students to be as safe around water as possible and truly enjoys seeing when a student has fun in class. His passion is helping a child feel a sense of accomplishment with overcoming their fear of water. Brandon enjoys participating in water sports and riding ATV's on trails or sand dunes. He's been teaching for more than 25 years.
Master Aquatic Instructor I
Britt has been a swim instructor for 24 years and a Master Instructor since 2004. She is trained for the front desk, gym and deck managing. Britt earned a Masters of Occupational Therapy degree in addition to her Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology and Behavioral Science. Britt has two daughters who consider SWIMkids USA home. She enjoys being involved in their activities and is their Girl Scout leader. A fun fact about her is that she has been to 45 different states.
Head Deck Manager
CPO, Master Aquatic Instructor II, DTAC Age Group Coach
Bryan has a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology. He not only enjoys making children safer around water, but he loves to assist students with their goal setting and achievement. He works to inspire them to desire a high level of dedication to their goals. Bryan is a father of four who enjoys hiking, biking and fishing in his free time.
Director of Teams
Assistant General Manager, Master Aquatic Instructor II, DTAC 10 & Under Elite Coach
Bryce is a swim coach and the assistant general manager for SWIMkids USA. He is a certified swim coach. He enjoys seeing the excitement on a student's face when they accomplish their goal and know they are performing at their best. He enjoys reading self-help books, working out and listening to music.
Director of Aquatics
Master Aquatic Instructor II, SWIMteam USA Coach, Deck Manager, CPO
Chet has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. He enjoys seeing his students learn and grow up before his eyes.
Daryl enjoys watching her students progress and shares their excitement when they learn a new skill. She is going to school to learn to be a Physical Therapy Assistant.
Customer Service Assistant, Child Care Provider
Diana loves having the opportunity to help children learn something new every day and loves watching them have fun. Diana has played soccer all of her life and she is a Cosmetologist.
Senior Customer Service Representative
Elizabeth is working on her college degree in Early Childhood Education. She loves the look on her student's faces when they realize they have accomplished something they worked hard on. She participates in triathlons and has both a dog and a chicken as pets.
Senior Aquatic Instructor, Senior Customer Service Representative, Tumble Bugs Instructor, Retention Specialist, Camp Director
Erin says her students make her feel so proud of them and she enjoys seeing them grow, learn, and develop. She is going to school to be a Pastry Chef. A fun fact about Erin is that she likes carousel horses.
Senior Gymnastics Instructor
Eva Brocki was born in the Czech Republic and came to the United States in 1998. In high school, she participated in volleyball and gymnastics. She worked as a nanny for seven years and now works as a preschool teacher. She joined SWIMkids USA in 2008 as a gym instructor. She says that working with children is her passion and she likes to see their faces when they accomplish a new skill or move up a level. She has a son and likes to work out at the gym and eat healthfully.
Isaac De Masi
Aquatic Instructor, Customer Service Representative, Maintenance Technician
Isaac enjoys seeing the progress of his students and loves seeing them have a good time. He is a father of two children. He likes music and is a percussionist.
Customer Service Representative
Jace loves to see a child grow, develop and meet their goals. Jace builds computers, writes poetry and likes to camp.
Master Gymnastics Instructor II, Senior Customer Service Representative
Jay was a competitive gymnast during school. He enjoys watching his students grow as athletes and individuals. He says it is great to see them accomplish a skill that they have been working on for a long time. He has traveled around Europe and lived in Moscow for four months. He is also a professional photographer.
DTAC 8 & Under Elite Coach
Master Trainer, Master Aquatic Instructor II, Deck Manager, CPO, StarGuard/AHSI Trainer
Justin has been working with SWIMkids USA since 2010. Prior, Justin was a swim coach and a lifeguard for the city of Scottsdale for two years.
Director of Amazing Decorations
Lance Whitehead has been working for SWIMkids USA since 1995. As the eldest son of owner and founder, Lana Whitehead, Lance is THE original student for SWIMkids USA's famous Swim-Float-Swim sequence that has helped to keep so many children safe and swimming happily. Lance is the eldest of three boys. Lance's mother, Lana, is the founder and owner of SWIMkids USA, established in 1971.
When you come in during the holidays you will notice how wonderfully decorated the front desk is. Thanks to Lance's creativity and hard work, SWIMkids USA becomes a holiday wonderland respective the seasonal holiday. Lance takes great joy in seeing the kids' faces light up with excitement at the extraordinary decorations.
Director Gymnastics and Dance
Master Aquatic and Gymnastics Instructor II, Senior Customer Service Representative, Deck Manager, Director of Scheduling, CPO, Social Media Team Member
Marie was a swimmer for 12 years and worked as a Lifeguard at Big Surf before becoming an Aquatic Instructor in our pools. Marie has always been a very active person; she did cheer for six years, as well as tumbling and dance. This lead her to teach cheer and dance for four years, which translates well into teaching somersaults and back flips in our gym program. Marie is still as active as ever and in her free time she can often be found at the gym working out or doing yoga. She loves the weather in Arizona because it allows her to spend time outside hiking the trails or wakeboarding at the lake. Her love of the Spanish language led her to study abroad for a summer in Spain.
Senior Aquatic Instructor, Senior Customer Service Representative, Deck Manager
Mark believes that the best part of teaching is providing a lasting impression. He likes to know that he's made a direct impact in children's lives, and if in the future they look back at their childhood and remember him, he would be incredibly honored. Previously, Mark was the youngest contracted worker at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. These days, he passes time studying at Rio Salado College and building customized computers.
Natalie is a swim Instructor who is lifeguard certified and Water Safety Instructor certified with Bachelors degree in psychology. Natalie loves seeing the joy in a child's face as they learn and she loves seeing their energy and curiosity. Natalie is working on a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. She loves photography.
Director of Social Media
Aquatic Instructor, Customer Service Rep Training Mentor
Nathan is working on his English degree and preparing for law school. He loves seeing his students learn and grow in their skill level. He says there is nothing better than knowing he has made someone's life better.
Senior Aquatic Instructor, Gymnastics Instructor, Deck Manager
Nikolas enjoys the joy he sees in a student's face when they master a skill. Nikolas is studying to be a Nurse. He was a diver in high school.
Sage loves forming bonds with her students and their parents. She especially enjoys it when a student has been struggling with a skill and then, with work, is able to master it. She is a certified EMT and 911 Operator. She is also in a band as a vocalist and guitar player. A professional florist, she is in school to study Agriculture.
Master Aquatic Instructor II, Deck Manager, CPO, StarGuard/AHSI Trainer
Seth's goal is to make sure his students leave his class with a smile. He and his wife Leah have a daughter. He has a degree in Business and is working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. He loves music and plays the drums. A fun fact is that he is a watch collector.
Master Dance and Gymnastics Instructor, Zumba Fitness Instructor
Shana Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts and a minor in Business. Shana loves to help build confidence and strong self-esteem in her students.
Director of Customer Experience
Master Aquatic Instructor II, Coach, Tumble Bugs Instructor and Lead, Retention, Deck Manager, Customer Service Rep Training Mentor
Shaunna has a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Development. She's EMT-B certified and a mom to two daughters. Shaunna loves the feeling she gets knowing that she has the opportunity to be a part of her students' lives. She says that whether it is teaching them to being safer, boosting their cognitive development, helping them achieve their goals through success in classes, or just giving them a reason to smile, she is glad to be part of their experience of learning to swim. She loves theater and music and was a swimmer and diver during high school.
Thomas enjoys helping his students become safer around the water and he likes watching them have fun. He also teaches children soccer and basketball.
Facility Manager, CPO
Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He gave us this quote about his passion for teaching young swimmers: “100 years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, or the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I made a difference in the life of a child”. He learned to swim in the ocean in Southern California. He served in the armed forces as an Emergency Medical US Navy Corpsman working with the US Marines in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and in Somalia tracking down pirates. Tim offers this inspirational message by Alan Watts, "To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you'll sink and drown. Instead you will relax and float."
Tristan is a swim instructor who has had in-depth training for his job. He loves to see his student's smiling faces and he can't wait to get out of bed in the morning so he can go to help them learn. He says he likes to make things and once he sees something he can usually make it from scratch all on his own.